Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Fantasy Jan Sikes, #Historical Ailish Sinclair, #Poetry Balroop Singh

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore updates with reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Jan Sikes for the short story Jonah..

About the book

Fantasy meets reality when a young man is forced to choose his punishment for crimes committed. Jonah must decide between imprisonment in a concrete box beneath the earth or be exiled to a deserted, barren island. He chooses the island, but nothing can prepare him for the deadly creatures, and poisonous plants at every turn. Then there’s the maddening isolation that drives him to the brink of insanity. There is only one way off this island and it’s more difficult than anything he’s ever imagined. It’s much easier to face mortal danger than the demons within. Will he find redemption, or another unexpected offer?

A recent review for the book

D. W. Peach 4.0 out of 5 stars A tale about personal growth  Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021

Jonah had a choice: prison or abandonment on an island. He opts for the island and finds himself in an inhospitable environment that he’s not sure he’ll survive. Then Titus shows up, an unusual boy with webbed fingers and glowing eyes who offers hope and a way out if Jonah is willing to change his life.

This short story, in some ways, works as an allegory for the process of finding self-acceptance, integrity, fellowship, and redemption. It relies heavily on the books The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, and The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, both which Jonah studies while trapped on the island.

Magic also comes into play, perhaps allegorical for the real “magical” transformation that comes with self-discovery and owning one’s choices. Overall, the story worked and kept my attention with its unique setting and relatable characters. Recommended to readers who enjoy allegories and a fictional overview of the steps leading to personal growth.

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

The next review is for  the historical novel Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair.

About the book

Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…

For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.

Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.

For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.

But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.

Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.

A recent review for the book

Helen 5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 July 2021

A beautifully written, heartbreaking story set in the 1700s of a young lady, Elizabeth Manteith, who is kidnapped from Scotland and taken to America to be sold as a slave. Based on real events, it brings to light the plight of more than 600 people who were taken over the years.

This is a love story that transcends colour, race, and class, as Elizabeth grows from being a spoilt lady of the castle to a young woman who fiercely defends her closest friends. There is joy and sadness, laughter and tears; the narrative pulls you in and keeps you intrigued all the way through.

I admire books that speak about parts of history that others would prefer to keep hidden, and this book tells the heartbreaking story of people whose voices would otherwise remain unheard. Well written, with wonderful characters, it’s a great read I highly recommend. 

Also by Ailish Sinclair

Read the other reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other reviews :Goodreads – Website:Ailish Sinclair – Twitter: @AilishSinclair – Facebook: Ailish Sinclair Author – LinkedIn: Ailish Sinclair

Delighted to share a recent review for Balroop Singh… and her new collection…Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

About the collection

When I stumbled upon haiku – a Japanese form of poetry, I scoffed it away, thinking it to be too short and easy to write. My hubris got a setback when I was challenged to write it! My earlier efforts show how I struggled with the syllables that could convey a meaningful message. Slowly I discovered this art form, which I revere now. I’ve taken some liberties with the rules though.

The poetry in this collection is not traditional haiku and tanka but inspired from them.This collection focuses on micro-poetry, inspired from haiku, senryu, tanka and acrostic poems. Brevity and discipline is the hallmark of these poems.

A recent review for the collection

Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE  5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry that makes you think  Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2021

This latest from Balroop Singh, Slivers: Chiseled Poetry (2021) is a delightful collection of Haiku, what is a favorite poetry form of many. Balroop is a master of this form. I loved it from Page 1, her dedication to her husband:

“who speaks like ‘haiku’ – short but profoundly meaningful”

Balroop is well known for her poetic ability to connect words that ultimately give more than simple meaning to lines and phrases but a feeling to the whole. I have savored most of her poetry books (here are my reviews for Magical Whispers, Timeless Echoes, and Moments We Love). This particular collection shares the wonder of nature as told with haikus and to a lesser extent acrostic poems. Haiku is one of my favorite poetic forms as it is for millions. Done right, it adds dimension to a topic that can’t be reached any other way.

Here are examples of her artistry. What do you think?

coruscating lilies smile at me, heralding spring, spreading colorful cheer

we fly on the waves of whim when our dreams get wings clouds crumble to comply

a light within me illuminates dead desires that gasp with the waves

wind plays pranks today knocks them down yet petals smile! scattered elegance

mist engulfed me the cavern waited to devour my positive vibes

detachment carried her into an abyss of emotions emerging seems irresistible

This is truly poetry that makes you think. Enjoy!  

Other books by Balroop Singh


Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado


Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.




45 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Fantasy Jan Sikes, #Historical Ailish Sinclair, #Poetry Balroop Singh

  1. Another wonderful cluster of writers, books and reviews. Thank you, Sally, and congratulations to Jan, Ailish, and Balroop. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed the reviews though one sounds very like something from a Robin Hobb novel. Lol- but then you cannot have enough of Ms Hobb. Enjoyed reading these and may well purchase.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely, thoughtful reviews here. Congratulations to the authors – and I loved the examples from Balroop’s Slivers, especially the ones ‘we fly on the waves of whim…’ and ‘mist engulfed me …’

    Liked by 1 person

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